New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Opposition parties — the Congress, the AAP and CPI-M — on Thursday slammed the surge pricing in railway fares on premium trains and demanded its rollback.
The Congress termed the government decision as “Tughlaqi farmaan” and the Communist Party of India-Marxist said it showed the government’s “pro-rich bias”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also denounced the hike in railway fares on Durunto, Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains.
The government on Wednesday announced what it termed as “flexi fares”, under which the base fares of the Durunto, Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains will go up by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed ceiling limit.
“Battling rising price of essential commodities and runaway food inflation, the decision by the Modi government to impose ‘surge pricing’ through ‘flexi fare system’ in Rajdhani, Duranto and Shatabdi trains is a rude shock for the ordinary people,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.
He said the surge pricing was “an underhand tool to collect Rs 1,000 crore annually by burning pockets of honest middle class families” who still see the railways as the only cost effective option of long distance travel.
Surjewala said the decision to implement surge pricing from September 9, ahead of the festival season of Dussehra, Diwali, Chhat Puja, Onam and Eid-ul-Azha, proves the “anti-people mindset” of the Modi government.
The CPI-M pointed out that the scheme excludes the highest class of travel, that is, AC I and Executive Chair, “reflecting the pro-rich bias of the government”.
“This demand-driven scheme is a mask to cover a sharp hike in fares for 90 per cent of the passengers,” the Left party said, as it “cautioned” that this could be a prelude to similar hike in other trains as well.
Kejriwal, who travelled by Shatabdi Express train to Ludhiana on Thursday, tweeted: “I am in Shatabdi right now. Spoke to several people. Everyone is against the Modi government’s surge pricing.
“AAP strongly opposes surge pricing in railways and demands that it should be rolled back,” he added.